A Contested space: Ihumātao
Ihumātao is known and respected as the longest continuously occupied papakainga (village) in the Auckland region. People have lived and worked at Ihumātao for over 1000 years. Carbon dating of an archaeological site on nearby Puketūtu Island dates human settlement by the people of Ihumātao in the range of 1160 A.D. or the 12th century. Here is a short history of the on-going land issues and disputes at Ihumātao in the last 180 years.
1836 Reverend William Fairburn claims to have purchased from Māori all the land from Ōtāhuhu to Papakura (83,000 acres), the entire area of South and East Auckland.
1840-1850 Ongoing dispute over the Fairburn purchase.
1863 Land confiscated as punishment for supporting the Kingitanga Movement. Internationally owned land commissioners use legal loopholes to con scate all Māori owned land in Māngere and on sell to British settlers.
1960-2000 Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant makes large area of the Māngere foreshore off limits to the public
and seriously pollutes the air, water and sea bed. Historic volcanoes quarried for airport construction and Auckland’s roading network. Oxidation ponds are eventually decommissioned and the Ihumātao foreshore restored however there is no restoration of the Ōruarangi awa.
2009 Auckland Airport’s second runway construction bulldozes through a 600 year old urupa (grave site) on the Manukau Harbour foreshore unearthing 89 graves.
2012 Watercare announces plans to divert huge volumes of sewerage and stormwater from Central Auckland to the Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant. There
is ongoing community opposition to this plan on environmental grounds. Te Motu a Hiaroa/Puketūtu Island is designated as a bio-solids dumping ground.
2012 The Environment Court orders Auckland Council to re-zone all Rural land west of the Auckland Airport to Future Urban. This effectively destroys the unique heritage value of this area and ends Council and community plans for the Māngere Gateway Heritage project.
2013 Industrial dye spill completely devastates Waitomokia stream and Ōruarangi awa. One of Auckland’s worst pollution incidents.
2016 Fletcher Residential Limited is granted approval to build a 480 high-density housing development on the last remnant of rural land in Māngere in the Ihumātao area, the site of an ancient pa situated on the slopes of two volcanoes, Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga a Hape/Pukeiti. The land block is sold to Fletchers and the Wallace Family end 153 years of continuos occupation.
"The people of Ihumātao today are the kaitiaki (guardians) of the environment and we have a responsibility to our ancestors and future generations to protect our sacred lands, including that of the Ōtuataua Stone elds Historic Reserve, the lava caves that were used in the burial of our ancestors, Ōruarangi Creek, the Manukau Harbour and the wider Ihumātao Peninsula".